The excerpt represents the core issue or deciding factor on which you must meditate, and is drawn from Cratylus by Plato:|
dialogue: What is the truth, or correctness, or principle of names?
After illustrating the nature of correctness by the analogy of the arts,
and then, as in the Republic, ironically appealing to the authority of the
Homeric poems, Socrates shows that the truth or correctness of names can
only be ascertained by an appeal to etymology. The truth of names is to be
found in the analysis of their elements. But why does he admit etymologies
which are absurd, based on Heracleitean fancies, fourfold interpretations
of words, impossible unions and separations of syllables and letters?
1. The answer to this difficulty has been already anticipated in part:
Socrates is not a dogmatic teacher, and therefore he puts on this wild and
fanciful disguise, in order that the truth may be permitted to appear: 2.